The Cooper Institute

Founded in 1970 by the "Father of Aerobics"
Kenneth H. Cooper MD, MPH


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Dallas Morning News: Troy Aikman Promotes Healthy Zone Program


August 31, 2011
Media Contact: Betsy Dixon,
United Way of Metropolitan Dallas
(214) 534-8909 cell

Dallas Cowboys great Troy Aikman will join United Way of Metropolitan Dallas and The Cooper Institute® to honor the North Texas schools named part of the new Healthy Zone School Recognition Program. The collaborative health initiative offers training and financial assistance to schools to create healthier environments and recognizes schools that have already become healthy zones. Designed to promote health in schools, the program gives schools resources to engage teachers, students, and parents in a broader effort to improve the health of their communities.

To kick off a healthy school year, Aikman will speak of his passion for the program and present Healthy Zone School representatives with banners honoring their work to engage students and their surrounding communities in lifelong healthy habits. Dr. Kenneth H. Cooper, M.D., M.P.H. will discuss ways students can achieve good health, stemming the dangerous epidemic of childhood obesity. Students will then engage in fun fitness activities, including relay races, jump rope drills, an obstacle course, volleyball and soccer. Local high school students will lead healthy snack demonstrations to show kids tasty ways they can stay on track at home. JumpIn Sports will provide entertainment.

For the 2011-2012 school year, 13 local schools are receiving program honors. The three Healthy Zone Schools are: Nell Burks Elementary, McKinney; Bethany Elementary, Plano; and Carlena Chandler Elementary, Allen. The 10 Healthy Zone Schools In-Training are: McLaughlin/Strickland Elementary, Carrollton/Farmers Branch; Bonham Elementary, Dallas; Malvern Elementary, McKinney; James Bowie Elementary, Dallas; Jackson Elementary, Plano; Rasor Elementary, Plano; Anderson Elementary, Frisco; Arapaho Classical Magnet, Richardson; George Bannerman Dealy Montessori, Dallas; and Caldwell Elementary, McKinney.

Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2011
9 a.m. - 11 a.m. (Program is from 9-9:30a.m.; fitness activities will continue until 11a.m.)

James Bowie Elementary School
330 North Marsalis Avenue
Dallas, TX 75203

Pro Football Hall of Famer Troy Aikman, Dr. Kenneth H. Cooper, M.D., M.D.H. and Jennifer Sampson, United Way of Metropolitan Dallas Acting President and CEO will join Bowie Elementary students, school leadership, and business and community leaders to celebrate the inaugural year for the Healthy Zone School Recognition Program.

The rate of childhood obesity has grown exponentially over the last 20 years. Today almost 40% of Dallas high school students are overweight or obese. Parents of overweight children pay $220 more per year in health care expenses. And research now supports the link between physical fitness and students’ success in school. Findings show students who are physically fit are more likely to do well on standardized tests, have better school attendance and are less likely to be disciplinary problems.

Endorsed by the Texas Education Agency, The Healthy Zone School Recognition Program is a six-year initiative that will serve 70 schools, impacting more than 25,000 students and their families by the end of its final year. Schools selected will receive teacher fitness and nutrition training along with funding for physical education equipment, health promotions and parent education tools.

The program is made possible through generous donations and support from Bank of America, Oncor and Enterprise Holdings, operating as Enterprise, Alamo and National, and is part of United Way’s commitment ensure lasting change throughout the region, specifically in the key areas of Education, Income and Health.


About United Way of Metropolitan Dallas

Currently working to create long-term community change in the areas of Education, Income and Health, United Way of Metropolitan Dallas is the largest non-government funder of health and human services in Dallas, Collin, Rockwall and southern Denton counties. Locally governed and volunteer-led, UWMD works with community partners to deliver more than 300 health and human services programs across North Texas. Visit to learn more.

About Cooper Institute

Established in 1970 by Kenneth H. Cooper, M.D., M.P.H., is a nonprofit dedicated worldwide to preventive medicine research and education. Dr. Cooper is widely considered the “Father of Aerobics” and is credited with sparking today’s fitness movement. Now Cooper Institute is redefining health as a leader in reversing childhood obesity. Cooper Institute’s FITNESSGRAM® is mandated for use in all Texas Public Schools and in 86,000 schools across the country. Visit to learn more.

About the Healthy Zone School Recognition Program

United Way of Metropolitan Dallas and The Cooper Institute have joined forces to fight the childhood obesity epidemic and help instill healthy habits in children that will last a lifetime. Years of research and a two-year pilot has resulted in the new Healthy Zone School Recognition Program™.
Through this program:

Additional public, private and charter schools interested in being part of the Healthy Zone School Recognition Program can register for a Healthy Zone account to access resources, share ideas, and connect with peers. The competitive application process for the 2012-2013 school year will open in January 2012.